Sunday, January 21, 2007

Review: CSS The Missing Manual

Title: CSS The Missing Manual
Publisher: Pogue Press / O'Reilly
Author: David Sawyer McFarland

Visuals:
The book has an attractive layout. The pages have comfortable margins for any notes you may wish to add, page numbers and chapter titles are quickly accessible on every page. Additionally each page has a box in the upper outside corner describing the contents of that page, allowing for easy browsing. Screenshots are clearly printed.

Readability:
Personally I use this book more as a reference tool. The writing style might allow for a cover to cover type read, although personally the topic wouldn't hold my interest. The author tries to include various design tips in the text, but overall the coverage feels a little basic.

Practicality:
If you are completely new to the concept of CSS, this book might be a good match for you.

I would say one of the weak points of the book is that it is not a very exhaustive consideration of available CSS properties. For example, the book only mentions the inline, block & none options for the display property. Instead of listing the other options, it simply says "The display property has a myriad of possible options, most of which aren't supported in today's browsers". I could understand not explaining every single CSS property option in detail, but at least provide a list of possible options - it's not that much more ink. So in that respect it's not the best book to serve as a reference.

It is handy on occasion to have an illustration visually explain the effect of a CSS property.

Audience:
According to the introduction, the book "is designed to help readers at every technical level."

It's hard to be all things to all people. You can't really write a Professional CSS For Dummies book. The introduction continues to explain that the book is generally for advanced-beginners to intermediate users, while an "advanced Web page jockey" might be interested in occasional tips and tricks scattered throughout the book.

I think this book would be best suited for beginners..

Overall:
Not bad. For the beginner it will provide you a good introduction to the topic.

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